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Iraq Hangs in the Balance of Power


Iraq Hangs in the Balance of Power

The balance of power is on Russia’s side in Iraq. Can Russia and the United States clash over Iraq? Only time will tell.

The USA’s most significant Middle Eastern foothold is Iraq. Iraq is essential to the United States of America’s efforts to prevent Iran from invading the Gulf Cooperation Council on land. This article continues the findings of last year’s article “Iraq’s Delicate Geopolitical Situation.” Where is Russia in this battle if the US forces’ escalation in Iraq and the militia supported by Iran turns into a direct conflict? Can Russia take Iran’s place in Iraq? Will the United States and Russia clash over Iraq?

The battle between the United States and the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq is still going strong, and it just got more significant when US Ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski sent a critical letter to Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein.[1] On Wednesday the 24th of January, the US put preconditions that the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq must stop attacking the US first.[2] The US-Iraqi relations have deteriorated, with the Iranian-backed Iraqi militia in conflict with the US, giving the US no choice but to confront the threat. Overextending US forces with one more conflict with an Iranian proxy, keep in mind that the US is at war with Al Houthi which is another Iranian proxy. Particularly now that the balance of power has shifted in favor of China and Russia, the US must eliminate the Iranian proxies in the Middle East as a demonstration of strength and power. However, diplomatic dialogue is always more beneficial for the US, since the State of the Union of America is not ready for more blind adventures with such high national debt.

To provide a visualization of the American frustration with Iran, the US troops have been attacked about 150-165 times by Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria.[3],[4],[5],[6]

The visualization represents the total number of attacks against US forces by four sources from Reuters, CNN, and The National Abu Dhabi.

To discuss the role of the Russian Federation in Iraq. From the remarks at the 13th Middle East Conference of the Valdai Club in Moscow on February 13th, 2024, “We are seeing the consequences of the current escalation in other parts of the region as well, including the West Bank. Military operations are being carried out there as well and there are casualties. In addition to Palestinian territories, missile and bomb attacks are directed at Syria and Iraq. US bases in the SAR, Iraq, and Jordan are subjected to shelling. Tensions have spiked in the Red Sea and around Yemen, which has become the latest target of unlawful, aggressive air strikes by the United States and Britain.” [7]

This claim indicates that the US is trying to regain control over the Middle East because it is unable to depict more patience. The US’s opponents will gain strength the longer it permits Iran to continue bombing its bases. Consequently, it is quite likely that the United States and Iran will engage in direct combat in the future. The prior data consisted of the responses to the article’s first two questions, which are marked in red at the beginning.

Concerning the most interesting question in this article, will the USA and Russia clash over Iraq? Iran has substantial relations with Russia, and Iran has already been attempting in the past years to remove the US forces from Iraq completely.

However, according to the Iraq News Agency, the Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani will meet President Joe Biden on April 15.[8] To discuss a comprehensive framework between Iraq and the US in political, economic, financial, cultural, educational, and security fields.[9] Due to the many leaders within Iraq, the movements there are convoluted and difficult to understand. The Prime Minister of Iraq wants to meet with the US leadership for a comprehensive framework, which may be thought of as an alliance as alliances start with a comprehensive framework that leads to a treaty. The Iranian-backed Coordination Framework wants the US to leave Iraq. Although Russia might be too busy to concentrate on Iraq, it would be an enormous win for the Russian Federation if it were to replace the US in Iraq.

A review of the Iraqi-Russo relations in February of 2024, will provide enough evidence to answer the last question above. On February 6th, 2024, the UN Security Council including Russia criticized the US over the attacks that were made against the Iranian-backed militia[10] in Iraq that are Kataib Hezbollah, and other Tehran-affiliated groups in Iraq.[11] On February, 18, 2024, National Security Advisor Qasim Al-Araji said, “relations with Russia are historical and strategic, and we must invest in these relations to consolidate security and stability in the region and the world.”[12] On February, 21, 2024, the Prime Minister of Iraq Muhammad Shia Al-Sudani received the Chairman of the Russian Federation Committee of Manufacturers and Businessmen of the founder of Lukoil company Vagit Alekperov.[13] They discussed plans to develop the fields operated by Lukoil in Iraq.[14]

To wrap things up, it is true and strategically sound to say that the Russian Federation is the main advantage of the Iranian-backed Militia in Iraq to obtain leverage on the US. The US is the main advantage of the Iraqi federal government to acquire influence on the militia supported by Iran. While the US does not have solid relations with all of the Iraqi factions, Russia enjoys excellent relations with all of the major powers in the country. The US needs a show of force because of its complex and assertive stance in Iraq. It will take time to see whether the US and Iraq can agree on a strategic framework and whether US forces will remain in Iraq.


  1. Azhari, Timour, and Phil Stewart. “Exclusive: US, Iraq to Initiate Talks on End of US-Led Military Coalition.” https://www.reuters.com, January 25, 2024. https://shorturl.at/crDQ0

  2. Ibid, 1.

  3. Ibid, 1.

  4. Watkins, Thomas. “Iran-Backed Attacks on US Forces in Iraq and Syria Drop after Retaliatory Strikes.” The National, February 13, 2024. https://shorturl.at/txyCY

  5. Stewart, Phil, Idrees Ali, and Timour Azhari. “U.S. Launches Strikes in Iraq, Syria, Nearly 40 Reported Killed.” Reuters.com, February 4, 2024. https://shorturl.at/yEW78

  6. Liebermann, Oren, Haley Britzky, and Natasha Bertrand. “US Carries Out Airstrikes on Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq.” CNN, January 24, 2024. https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/23/politics/us-strikes-iran-backed-militia-iraq/index.html.

  7. Lavrov, Foreign Minister Sergey. “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s Remarks at the 13th Middle East Conference of the Valdai Club, Moscow, February 13, 2024.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, February 13, 2024. https://mid.ru/en/maps/iq/1931690/

  8. Iraqi News Agency. “Prime Minister Will Visit Washington on April 15.” March 22, 2024. https://ina.iq/eng/31955-prime-minister-will-visit-washington-on-april-15.html.

  9. Ibid, 6.

  10. Iraqi News Agency. “UN Security Council Members Criticize US Over Recent Strikes in Iraq.” February 6, 2024. https://ina.iq/eng/31265-un-security-council-members-criticize-us-over-recent-strikes-in-iraq.html.

  11. Liebermann, Oren, Haley Britzky, and Natasha Bertrand. “US Carries Out Airstrikes on Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq.” CNN, January 24, 2024. https://edition.cnn.com/2024/01/23/politics/us-strikes-iran-backed-militia-iraq/index.html.

  12. Iraqi News Agency. “Al-Araji: Relations with Russia Are Historical and Strategic.” February 18, 2024. https://ina.iq/eng/31465-al-araji-relations-with-russia-are-historical-and-strategic.html.

  13. Iraqi News Agency. “PM Meets with the Founder of Lukoil.” February 21, 2024. https://ina.iq/eng/31509-pm-meets-with-the-founder-of-lukoil.html.

  14. Ibid, 11.




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